5 Of The Best Known Superstitions

I reckon that every single one of us adheres to the rules of one superstition or another, some more than most. They are part of our everyday lives, whether it’s not itching that right hand for fear of scratching the money away or picking up the penny for good luck, we all do something related to superstitions…

And in this post I’m going to share with you what I believe are 5 of the best known superstitions out there!  So in no particular order…


5. Ladders!

man walking under ladder

Don’t do it!

Or rather, under them. Never EVER walk under a ladder!! Never mind the fact that something could fall on you, it is believed that to do so brings about really bad luck, often of the fatal kind – yikes!

It is believed that the origin of this superstition has to do with the idea of the Holy Trinity in the Christian faith. The number three was sacred and obviously a ladder leaning against a wall creates a triangle, so to walk under it was to “break the trinity“. How true this is is unknown, but it is one plausible explanation for such a superstition.


4. Spilled salt…

Spilled salt bad luck

How much constitutes a ‘spill’??

Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder… to blind the devil sitting there. Another superstition that seems to have Christian origins, the Last Supper painting by da Vinci, shows Judas knocking salt over, which in turn leads to the belief that spilled salt is symbolic of treachery and lies, a supposed hallmark of the devil.

So by chucking some of that salt over your left shoulder you blind him and prevent him going about his business…


3. One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl…Lone magpie

Almost everyone knows that if you spot a lone magpie you salute it and say “Hello” and many others know the actual rhyme itself. Of course, like with many superstitions there are different versions of it, but it seems that the poor magpie earned this reputation as a sign of bad omens because of it’s aggressiveness towards other birds and love of stealing shiny objects.

Whatever it’s origin, I for one am not taking any chances and shall salute lone magpies til the cows come home!


2. Seven years bad luck!Broken mirror

Break a mirror, gain seven years bad luck – unless you know how to reverse the effects, usually by grinding the mirror into dust or burying the pieces by a tree under the full moon. But just where did this superstition come from?

It is believed that it can be traced back to the Romans, who invented mirrors and believed that they could house part of their user’s soul, therefore if the mirror became distorted (broken), the person’s soul would be as well. The reason for the seven years? It is said that the Romans believed that your body renewed itself every seven years, therefore the same is said of the soul.


1. Good Luck Macbeth!!

Macbeth by Orson Welles

Orson Welles as Macbeth in 1948

In theatrical superstition it is considered bad luck to wish someone good luck, instead you must say “Break a leg!” If you don’t then it is believed that something bad will happen during the performance. An even worse crime is mentioning that ill-fated play Macbeth, since it is considered to be cursed after the actor who played Macbeth during the first ever performance, died shortly afterwards.

There are numerous reasons as to why these sayings are considered bad luck, but one thing’s for certain, you can be guaranteed a frosty reception from many in the theatre business if you were to say “Good luck Macbeth!”  


What do you think about these superstitions? Do you have any favourites to share? If so, feel free to tell me in the comments below!

About Cassie Raine

Cassie is a home educating mum-of-two, living in the Kentish countryside. She has a keen interest in history, especially ancient history, literature, myths and legends, theology, environmental issues, self-sufficiency and current affairs. In her spare time she enjoys reading, country walks, knitting and learning new skills. She believes passionately that learning should be a pleasure, never a chore.
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